Refresh Layout

Refreshes the layout of the current comp (Win+Mac: Shift+Z, Win+Mac [German]: Shift+Y, Win+Mac [French]: Shift+W).

Sometimes the language-specific shortcut (German or French) of Refresh Layout won't get applied correctly by default because the OS or AE language can't get detected accurately. In that case, the English shortcut will be applied. If you want the best user experience, change the shortcut manually to its default in these languages (German: Shift+Y, French: Shift+W).

Use Refresh Layout every time layers have been moved, created, or renamed (using AE renaming).

Refresh Layout will refresh:

  • Indent

  • Visibility, solo, and lock states

  • Group parents

  • Group labels

  • Layer icons

  • Trim of group headers to their contained layers (as well as trimming of other layer types; for more information, see below)

It will also:

  • Quick refresh clone connections of selected layers (for more information, see below)

  • (added in version 1.1 ->) Refresh Group Mattes if layers were added/removed to/from a group

  • (added in version 1.1 ->) Refresh Group Linked Adjustment Layers if layers were added/removed to/from a group

  • Collapse layers that have been shifted into a collapsed group

  • Convert layers of a Prime Clone to Prime Clone layers and vice versa

  • Convert Precomp Clones, on which its Cloned Layer effects have been deleted, to Dependent Clones

  • Reorder effects on Linked Adjustment Layers according to the order in which the Linked Adjustment Layers are within the comp (for more on this, see Create Linked Adjustment Layer chapter)

  • Remove Group Mattes from layers if the Group Matte Layer itself has been deleted

  • Check names of selected layers for whether duplicate names exist and rename the selected layers if needed

  • (added in version 2.0 ->) Refresh names of group elements (Group Mattes, Group Inter-Merges, Group Adjustment Layers, and Group Clones) to their group header name, as well as Matte Merge layer names to their matted layer name.

  • (added in version 2.0 ->) Refresh the timing of Tag Markers to their original position

Tip: Refresh Layout will also be executed when you center-click on empty space on the ScriptUI Panel.

Refresh Layout will only refresh the comp's layout. Connections of Clones in Comp, entire Precomp Clones, Linked Adjustment Layers, and Group Mattes are not being refreshed. You need to use Refresh Connections for this.

Also, read up here for more info on the difference between Refresh Layout and Refresh Connections.

Unavailable After Effects Functions

In order for Workflower to run its functions, by default it is taking full control of:

  • AE's shy mode (to collapse groups)

  • AE's layer comments (to store internal information)

  • AE's project item comments of compositions (to store internal information)

That means, though, that shy states and comments are not usable anymore. Keep that in mind when applying Workflower to an existing comp because all shy and comment data will be overwritten.

Allowing External Layer Comments [Beta]

(Added in version 2.0.4)

As of version 2.0.4, it's possible to add layer comments without Workflower overwriting them.

This feature is still in beta, so use it with caution! Also, since it's still in beta, you have to enable it under Settings > Layout > Allow External Layer Comments.

This makes Workflower compatible with a variety of add-ons that rely on writing/reading data to/from the layer comments (like Flatten Layers or AutoSway).

Workflower achieves this by saving its data to a layer marker when a non-Workflower layer comment is added. Do not remove this marker!

Using non-Workflower layer comments can reduce performance of Workflower functions, so it's recommended to use as few as possible.

To return to Workflower using layer comments in order to store data, just put in an empty string into the layer comment and execute any Workflower function.

Exempting Layer Names from Indentation

(Added in version 1.0.5)

Certain plugins/scripts depend on specific layers to keep their original name. Tools that depend on this include RubberHose 2, Deekay Tool, or Normalize Track. However, in Indented Layout, Workflower will rename almost all layer names in your comp indent them. To combat this, you can add a marker to your layer with the comment "NNN" (without quotation marks).

Be aware that doing this will keep the layer name from being altered at all. So if the layer already has an indent, it will keep that indent. If you don't want the layer to have that indent, just remove it and the next time you execute Refresh Layout, no indent will be added.

As of version 1.1, you can also use the dedicated function Exempt Layer Name from Alteration in order to add the marker with "NNN" to a layer. This makes it faster to add the marker to multiple layers at once. Additionally, it will also remove the layer name's indent in case it had one.

For a list of plugins/scripts that depend on specific layer names and that we've tested for their compatibility with Workflower, please click here.

Automatic Trimming

(Added in version 1.1)

If enabled under the Trimming Settings, the group header's in and out point will be adjusted to the group's layers once you execute Refresh Layout. That way, you always know the group's position in time even when the group is collapsed.

All empty groups will be trimmed to the entire comp duration.

Additionally, there are even more layer types that will be automatically trimmed to another set of layers, so in total these are your total trimming functions:

  1. Group header to contained layers

  2. Group Matte Layers to their group header

  3. Group Adjustment Layers to their group header

  4. Track mattes to their matted layers (disabled by default since version 2.0)

  5. Matte Merge layers to their matted layer (when track matte directly above)

  6. Precomp Clones to their contained layers

  7. Adjustment layers that are matted to clones (when track matte directly above)

Automatic trimming of regular track mattes to matted layers has been disabled by default in version 2.0 since it sometimes resulted in confusing automatic trims.

You can disable or enable any of these options by going to Settings > Trimming.

To exempt any of these layers from being trimmed, simply add a marker to the layer with the comment "TTT" (without quotation marks) or execute Exempt Layer from Trimming by going to the Main Menu, holding down Alt/Option, and clicking on the Rename Layer/s button.

Don't confuse this feature with Layers respect Group In/Out! Layers respect Group In/Out will trim every contained layer to the group header's trim whereas this feature will do the opposite: trim the header's in/out point to the contained layers.

When you're using Layers respect Group In/Out, the automatic trimming of the header's in/out point will be disabled.

Unavailable Characters (Mac only)

Due to restrictions on Mac, Workflower cannot use a certain set of special characters to show icons within the layer name as it does on Windows and therefore regular characters are being used. However, that's why certain combinations of characters cannot be used in layer names since they will be removed and replaced every time Refresh Layout is being executed. Make sure not to use the following combinations of characters within your layer names:

  • [–]

  • [+]

  • >

  • ~

  • [[O]]

  • [o]

  • [==]

  • [x]

  • [c]

  • [p]

  • [d]

  • [i]

  • [m]

  • [ø]

  • ∆ ∆

  • [g]

  • »

  • [a]

  • [[U]]

Quick Refresh Clone Connections of Selected Layers

By default, this setting is disabled. To enable it, go to the Cloning Settings and activate When executing 'Refresh Layout', quick refresh Clone Connections of selected Layers. Now, every time you add or delete effects/masks, change the effects/masks order, change a parent or blending mode, enable/disable 3D, etc., simply execute Refresh Layout to update the corresponding clone layer/s.

This Quick Refresh Connections function within Refresh Layout is mostly identical to the separate Quick Refresh Connections function and has similar limitations. For more on this, see the Quick Refresh Connections chapter. However, there are also some differences between the Quick Refresh Connections function within Refresh Layout and the actual Quick Refresh Connections function:

  • Only connections of the selected layers, as well as the layer order, will be refreshed within Refresh Layout; not the other layers within the clone comp.

  • Potentially cloning and replacing layers with non-readable effects DOES NOT happen when quick refreshing connections within Refresh Layout, as it would slow down Refresh Layout too much.

  • Only Precomp Clone connections will be refreshed. No Clones in Comp, Linked Adjustment Layers, or Group Mattes.

Using Quick Refresh Clone Connections within Refresh Layout might slow down Refresh Layout. If you prefer a better performance, disable this option in the Cloning Settings and refresh connections only via its dedicated functions.

Toggle Non-Indented Layout

Toggles from Indented Layout to Non-Indented Layout and vice versa (Win: Shift+I, Mac: no default shortcut).

Non-Indented Layout may be useful to you if you want to use Refresh Layout less since indenting can only happen if Refresh Layout is executed every time layers have been moved. Aside from that, if the indent in Indented Layout is updated, the layer names will be renamed and if the layers in question are linked using expressions by other layers, all expressions will have to updated by AE, which will take a bit of time. To avoid this, you can instead use Non-Indented Layout.

Be aware that toggling to Non-Indented Layout may take a bit of time since all layers have to be renamed.

Non-Indented Layout can be set as the default layout in the Layout Settings.

Toggle Expression Mode

Toggles from Indented Layout to Expression Mode and vice versa (Win: Shift+O, Mac: no default shortcut).

Expression Mode removes the indent and strips away all special characters, created by Workflower. This is useful when writing expressions where other layers are referenced. When typing out another layer's name in an expression, it may be annoying to type out every space in the indent, or to put in the special characters, which can't be found on a keyboard.

Be aware that toggling to Expression Mode may take a bit of time since all layers have to be renamed.

Expression Mode can be set as the default layout in the Layout Settings.

Custom Indentation Icon in Expression Mode

(Added in version 1.1)

You have the option to use a custom indentation icon in Expression Mode. (Go to the Icon Settings to enable it.) This will display one icon (# by default) for each level of indentation, e.g. # Layer 1 for a layer which is one group level deep, ## Layer 2 for a layer which is two group levels deep, etc.

This can be useful if you work a lot in Expression Mode and you want to have an indication of the layers' indentation level when writing your expressions.

When using an indentation icon and exchanging your project, make sure to use the same icon. Otherwise, Workflower will interpret the icon as part of the layer name. Another option would be to use no Expression Mode when handing over comps or to disable the custom indentation icon.

Convert all Comps to another Layout

(Added in version 1.0.3)

Batch-converts all comps in the current project to another layout style.

To make use of this, go to the Layout Settings, you click on Convert all Comps to another Layout. Or, as of version 2.0.4, you can also right-click on empty space on the ScriptUI Panel and click on Export/Import Project to open the same function.

This is useful when you want to exchange the project file with someone who doesn't own Workflower:

Preferably, you want to convert your comps then to Expression Mode which will get rid of all indent and special characters. You also might want to enable Expand all Collapsed Groups, Disable Shy'd WF Layers above Groups with Error Message (the shy'd layer above a Workflower group header holds information for potential error messages - however, when you don't work with Workflower, this message will be useless and might confuse you), and Unlock Shy'd WF Layers above and below Groups.

If the aep is returned to you, it is possible to convert the comps back to Indented Layout using Convert all Comps in Project to another Layout Style. For that to be possible, however, it is necessary that no layer/comp comments were deleted, as Workflower relies on them to store information about groups and layers. Also, the group header, as well as the shy'd layers above and below the group, mustn't have been deleted. These are necessary for Workflower to be able to identify the beginning and end of a group.

If you want to exchange the project file with someone who doesn't have Workflower, that person might find it annoying to deal with the additional shy'd layers above and below groups, so using this function, you can also remove those layers. However, be aware that it will then be impossible to read group information on re-importing and you would have to create your groups anew!

Update all Comps

(Added in version 1.1)

Batch-refreshes the layout of all comps in the current project.

To make use of this, go to the Layout Settings, you click on Update all Comps.

This can be useful if you accidentally dismissed the update dialog after opening the project and you want to update all comps to your current version or current OS.

Convert Project to older WF/AE Version

(Added in version 1.1)

Batch-converts all comps in the current project to an older Workflower or After Effects version.

To make use of this function, go to the Layout Settings, you click on Convert Project to older WF/AE Version.

Since certain Workflower versions (like 1.1) include features that are incompatible with older Workflower versions, you will have to downgrade your project before handing it over to someone who uses an older Workflower version, or before you downgrade to an older Workflower version yourself.

Please be aware that certain attributes get removed when converting to an older version. For example, v1.0.6 does not include the ability to use Group Opacity, that's why all Group Opacities get removed when converting the project to v1.0.6.

Exempt Layer Name from Alteration

(Added in version 1.1)

Adds a marker with "NNN" to the selected layers in order to exempt their names from alteration (not available via shortcut; Win: Ctrl+Click on the Rename Layer/s Button; Mac: Cmd+Click on the Rename Layer/s Button).

Especially useful when you want to exempt several layers from indentation at once.

For more information on this, see above.

Exempt Layer from Trimming

(Added in version 1.1)

Adds a marker with "TTT" to the selected layers in order to exempt them from being automatically trimmed (not available via shortcut; Win: Ctrl+Click on the Rename Layer/s Button; Mac: Cmd+Click on the Rename Layer/s Button).

For more information on this, see above.

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